Wendy Dio says the hologram of her late husband Ronnie James Dio is being revised ahead of future tours.
The digital likeness of Dio, created by a company called Eyellusion, made its debut with Dio Disciples at Wacken Open Air in August 2016 and hit the road last year on the Dio Returns World Tour, which included a gig at London’s O2 Academy Islington over the festive period.
The tour saw Ronnie’s hologram ‘perform’ six to eight anthems from over his legendary career utilising archive audio from live performances.
The hologram was flanked by a backing band consisting of Dio Disciples guitarist Craig Goldy, vocalist Tim ‘Ripper Owens’, bassist Bjorn Englen, drummer Simon Wright, keyboardist Scott Warren and vocalist Oni Logan.
Speaking to The Metal Voice, Wendy Dio said that although the initial shows were a success, there will be some tweaks to the hologram before it takes to the road again.
Wendy said: "We took the hologram tour out in Europe to see if there was a market for it, because this is all very new. It's a new technology, and a lot of people are naysayers; some people think it's good, some think it's bad.
"So, we wanted to see if there was actually a market for it. We took it out across Germany, Spain, Budapest, London, Belgium and Holland, and it was very, very well received. Kids were crying to me and saying, 'Thank you so much for bringing Ronnie back to us.' And I think it was great for people that have been there and seen Ronnie before and wanted to see him back on stage for the kids that never got the opportunity to see Ronnie.
“It was a good test, we did very well, but there's things I need to perfect on Ronnie. I'm really very critical. I need to perfect his face a little bit more; his eyes and his eyebrows are not quite right to me. So, we're back on the drawing board right now. And we're hoping it will go out again probably the beginning of next year, and we will hit Canada and America. But it has to be right first."
Ronnie James Dio hologram © Eyellusion
Asked how she reacts to the criticism, Wendy said: "All the criticism is fine. Everybody has the right to criticize something, but look at it and see it first before you criticize it.
“Because most of the people that criticize it haven't seen it and they don't even know what to expect. It's a whole experience that we take out. Ronnie comes in and out you don't know when he's going to come in or out. He does about six or eight songs.”
Echoing comments made by Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Wendy also reiterated that the tour isn’t a huge money spinner: "It's something that's done with love, and hopefully the fans will enjoy it and want to see it.
"It costs a lot of money, it's not like something that we're making a bunch of money on — it costs a fortune. Right now, we're into, I think, two million dollars in developing it. But it's something that we want to do.
“We want to keep Ronnie's memory and his legend alive all the time. From the day Ronnie passed away, I want to keep his music and his legend alive, because he was such an amazing person."
Elsewhere in the interview, Wendy confirmed that there’s a Ronnie James Dio autobiography set for release next year that he’d partially completed before his untimely death.
"When I was in London last week I met with publishers, it's on the way now, it think it should be out by late 2019,” Wendy said.
“Ronnie wrote the book up until the middle of the Rainbow years. What I would like to do is continue it by taking interviews he has done with several people so it is still in his own words all the way through. Also interview people that have been on the road with him, band mates, bands that have supported Ronnie or bands that feel that Ronnie has influenced their lives.
“The book will include explanations of lyrics and I also have another thought in mind and I haven't approached it yet. I thought of doing an illustrative book of lyrics, in a medieval theme."